Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Candle Cafe Frozen Foods

When I first heard Candle Cafe was going to create their own frozen dinners my ears perked up. I've been to Candle 79 and I have to say they make some of the most amazing food in the world. How that would translate to the frozen world I wasn't sure. So over the course of four days I tried each of the new dinners: Macaroni & Vegan Cheese, Tofu Spinach Ravioli, Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce and Ginger Miso Stir-Fry. These can only be found at Whole Foods as they are the exclusive retailer. Well, let's get down to it!

Macaroni & Vegan Cheese- I liked it! If you know Daiya (pronounced DAY-YA, git with it people!!!) like I do, then you'd know instantaneously that the cheese is Daiya. It's not a problem for me, but it is interesting that they don't mention it on the package. I did have a problem with the fact that it was creamy on one side and liquidy on the other (*probably due to the fact I didn't stir the dinner as instructed). I'm not sure if it's like that in all the Mac dinners but it was a tad weird. What I loved was the spiral noodles and the flavor. I guess it depends on how you feel about Daiya. If you don't like it, this is a no-go, if you do then you'll probably like this dinner.

Tofu Spinach Ravioli- Again, the first thing you'll notice is the Daiya sprinkled on top of the ravioli. What I enjoyed about this dinner is that the ravioli was nice and tender. I also enjoyed the taste of the raviolis mixed with the red sauce and cheese. It's a nice change of pace from your typical frozen dinner. I'd totally buy this one again.

Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce- I wasn't feeling the Seitan Piccata at all. The seitan was a little rubbery and the rice was dry. (*The rice was probably dry because I didn't stir the dinner as instructed). The sauce was overpoweringly lemony and oddly sweet. I actually had this dish at Candle 79 so this was really disappointing.

Ginger Miso Stir-Fry- I don't love strong ginger flavors, but despite that, I thought this dinner was ok. The tofu was tasty and the rice was moist. Would I ever buy it again, though? Probably not.

Candle Cafe has the impossible task of making these frozen dinners live up to their reputation. I enjoyed the cheesy dinners but the inclusion of Daiya is an interesting and possible controversial choice. The portions seem smaller than other frozen dinners and the meals seem to be directed at health conscious buyers. So bottom line, I think if you are on a diet and you want a good tasting Vegan meal, these Candle Cafe dinners are a decent choice. But if you are hoping these dinners are going to save you a trip to Candle Cafe or Candle 79, you are sadly mistaken.

* I'm lazy.


  1. Good analysis. I thought they were pretty good, and I myself liked the seitan piccata (and I have had that dish at Candle 79 as well). My biggest complaint is the amount of food. I am a health conscious eater and I appreciate that the meals are healthy for a frozen entree, but just over 200 calories is a bit light for a whole meal. I found the seitan piccata in particular was just not enough for lunch to hold me over until dinner.
    That being said, I will probably buy them again.

  2. From your pictures, it seems like you did not follow the instructions and stir it after the 3 minutes, then cook for one more minute. I think that will eliminate your dry rice problem and the water problem in the mac and cheese. Also, I just realized how embarrassing it is that I have the instructions to these meals memorized.

  3. You are correct Deromanticize, I didn't stir. I never do for any frozen dinner but I will update the post. Thanks!

  4. I hope my Whole Foods has these! Our store is always so slow at getting anything new. Is the mac better than the Amy's frozen mac? Because that shit is better than any homemade I've ever had!! See you in 3 days!!!!!!!!!

  5. I'm gonna give the slight edge to the Candle Mac & Cheese. They're both pretty good though. See ya soon Bianca!

  6. The pasta dishes seem very interesting. I hope those frozen entrées will be available where I live soon.

  7. I'm gonna have to try the ravioli I think. A shop near me (in England
    ) sells it I noticed last week. Wonder how they got their mitts on it!

  8. Awesome news about them. I will definitely try them.


    Vegan Miam

  9. these are either on sale or there's a current coupon for them with WF right now so i've been looking into trying them out. thanks for the review!

  10. Why is using Daiya controversial?

    By the way, just found your blog and I'm loving reading through all the posts.

  11. Thanks! Some people feel Daiya has too strong of a flavor and it overpowers.

  12. So far I have had the macaroni and cheese and the Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce and have been totally stunned.

    They are really good and the mac and cheese is way better than the Amy's one.

    Stir them and let them sit. They come out nice. I like that they are all relatively lower calorie. I can add a side that way. Ton of sodium but that seems to come with the frozen dinners.

    I was highly impressed.

  13. Meh. Here's my two cents. I tried the tofu ginger miso dinner the other day and was so disappointed. It was barely palatable. I found this far too spicy, but I'm not a ginger fan, so maybe that's my failing. More significantly, the sodium content was off the chart -- 800+ mg of sodium! That's just ridiculous. I won't be having this again or any of the meals, though I am curious about the ravioli. I'm sticking with the Amy's line, which I find just right in flavor, freshness, sodium levels (esp the low sodium line) and even convenience (no stirring needed!).

    1. I agree with you.

      ♡ rika, vegan miam
      ★ i travel + i eat vegan blog ★



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